SGT. STRYKER, THE HARD-NOSED MARINE SERGEANT WHO MOLDS HIS COMPANY INTO A COMBAT-READY FIGHTING MACHINE. ALSO INCLUDES "THE MAKING OF SANDS OF IWO JIMA" NARRATED BY NOTED FILM HISTORIAN LEONARD MALTIN, OFFERING AN IN-DEPTH... more » LOOK AT THIS WORLD WAR II CLASSIC.« less
Classic Duke..this movie saved the Marines....I kid you not !
The film that made John Wayne a military icon. . . .
John A. Kuczma | Marietta, GA USA | 01/07/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It is difficult to decide if the Duke is at his best in westerns or war pictures, but the Sands of Iwo Jima is Wayne at his hard-hitting, flag waving best.The story follows U.S. Marine Corps sergeant John Stryker from a stint as a boot-pusher through the brutal battle on the slopes of Mount Suribachi. The troops include everything you'd expect in a World War II movie; the smart-mouthed, know-it-all rich kid; a street-wise hispanic kid from a tough neighborhood; a pleasure-loving goof off and just about every other stereotype of the American fighting man you can dream up. Of course, the Duke is there to guide them with just the right combination of verbal wisdom and right-crosses. There's even a healthy serving of sentimentality to round out the tour of cliches.Nonetheless, the Sands of Iwo Jima rises above its predictability to be a solidly entertaining action film and a rousing tribute to the tenacity, sense of self-sacrifice and fighting spirit of the Marine Corps. Despite its rampant and obvious emotionalism, you can't help but feel a lump in your throat as The Shores of Tripoli is played to segue from the final scenes into the closing credits.Like most Wayne pictures, the emphasis here is on the action, and the movie provides plenty of it, mixing actual combat footage, stock film and original cinematography into a tightly knit, effective product.This may not be the best picture John Wayne ever made, but it's way up the list. Highly recommended for anyone who loves action films, Mom, the Flag and Apple Pie, or the Duke himself."
John Wayne teaches young Marines how to "Saddle up!"
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 10/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Sands of Iwo Jima" was the first movie I ever saw in which John Wayne played a character who actually died, which was certainly one of the more shocking deaths I can remember ever seeing in a film. Wayne plays Sgt. John Marion Stryker and since Wayne's real name was Marion Michael Morrison there seems to be an additional level of identification between actor and character here, while the power of the name "Stryker" is obvious. Stryker seems a bully to the green recruits he is training to be U.S. Marines in 1943. When the men of the rifle squad learn that Stryker's wife had taken their son and left him they think they know the reason why the man who was once the epitome of the tough Marine has become such a martinet.
Of course when Stryker and his men hit the beach at Tarawa and are fighting for their lives against the Japanese troops defending the island, they understand that his hard lessons are the difference being life and death in combat. Then comes the last hard nut to crack of the islands occupied by the Japanese, the volcanic island of Iwo Jima. As the officer briefing the troops says, "nobody knows exactly what they've got on this island, but they've had forty years to put it there." Director Allan Dwan takes advantage of actual combat footage from the documentaries "With the Marines at Tarawa" and "To the Shores of Iwo Jima" to provide an added dimension of realism to the battle sequences. The reenactment of the flag raising on Iwo Jima involved Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, and John Bradley, the only three Marines in the celebrated photograph who survived the battle.
Since this is a Hollywood war movie Stryker's rifle squad consists of not just new recruits but a few veterans, including Al Thomas (Forrest Tucker), an old enemy who is perfectly willing to bad mouth the sergeant at every opportunity, even after he is taken out behind the tents by Stryker to be reminded who is running the outfit. The recruit who absorbs all of this venom the most is young Peter Conway (John Agar), whose father was Stryker's Commanding Officer at Guadalcanal. The old man felt his son was too soft to be a Marine (he reads books and went to college) and the kid resents the particular interest Stryker is taking in his training. Even when Stryker saves Conway's life when the kid is too busy reading a love letter to notice a live grenade gets loose during a training exercise, Conway refuses to show gratitude. So in addition to their relationship and sergeant and private Stryker and Conway are playing out their own familial relationship problems with each other as well.
It is in battle that Stryker is at his best, blowing up a Japanese bunker to save trapped Marines, and once he proves himself to be a warrior god his squad, now tested in battle, finally becomes a true band of brothers. But "The Sands of Iwo Jima" has the elements of a Greek tragedy and at the moment of his apotheosis the hero must fall. Adding insult to injury the blow comes from behind and the shot of a bullet hole beneath Stryker's stenciled name on the back of his fatigues is even more powerful than the reenactment of the raising of the second American flag on Mt. Surabachi.
This is not the best war movie of 1949; that honor goes to William Wellman's "Battleground," which remains one of the very best of the best in the World War II genre. Wayne was nominated for Best Actor, the only other time he was up for an Oscar besides "True Grit," although he arguably gave a better performance that same year in his previous film "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon." Despite the pair of strong performances by the Duke the Academy Award went to Broderick Crawford for "All the King's Men," but "Sands of Iwo Jima" remains Wayne's best WWII movie and one of the few that stands up with his classic westerns." "
The John Wayne War Movie!
Lawrance M. Bernabo | 03/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Sands of Iwo Jima" is arguably one of the greatest recruiting tools the US Marine Corps has ever had, and the image of John Wayne as tough as nails Sergeant John M. Stryker can still be seen throughout the fleet. Yet Sergeant Stryker is a flawed man: a lousy husband, a negligent father, and a near alcoholic who has already been busted in rank. His men hate him, and he doesn't care. His fate is nothing heroic. Sergeant Stryker is certainly a brave man, an able squad leader, and fine Marine, but he is not portrayed as John Rambo. John Wayne turns what could have been a cartoon character into something human and understandable. The movie has its flaws: weak supporting characters and a pointless romance. Yet, in its day, its battle scenes were praised for their realism. Despite the bashing John Wayne received recently for his WWII films glorifying war, "The Sands of Iwo Jima is still one of the finest war movies ever made. Yes, there is blatant flag-waving, but how can you have a movie about Iwo Jima without the raising of the flag on Suribachi? Not only does this movie recreate that epic moment, but actually got the three surviving men, who did the real flag rising, to recreate it for the movie."
Jeffrey Leeper | Seattle, WA USA | 02/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although my first thought would not classify this as a recruiting film, the movie does just that. Within the story we see a few people who are trying to earn respect from loved ones, the fellow soldiers, or themselves. This fits most of the themes for WWII movies starring John Wayne. If the formula works, don't mess with it.A hard-core Marine, played by John Wayne, has seen a lot of action, but he has also lost quite a bit of rank due to a problem with getting a bit too drunk on his off duty time. This drinking comes from his trying to deaden the pain from the estrangement from his young son.One of his squad is having trouble dealing with his world also. His father was a famous commander who wanted to see his son be a brave soldier. His trouble with his family leads to friction between him and Wayne.One soldier gets his buddies killed or injured due to his taking a break from the battle. From this, he must try to regain his respect for himself.All these men fight their inner battles as they fight the outer ones. This movie is a tribute to duty and honor. I would recommend watching this movie."
Ms. Renee' A. Hanlin | 11/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I feel that this is one of John Wayne's best! He plays a tough Commander with a soft spot for the mother and baby in the picture. This is a true classic! A must own for every Wayne fan!"